Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Obama appeared at Canyon Springs High School in Clark County, Nev., on the second day of a campaign swing focused on education. Speaking to a raucous crowd of 2,100 in the gymnasium, Obama said Romney would cut the Education Department’s budget by 20 percent, while also pushing for tax cuts for wealthy Americans.
Clark County had an average class size of 32 pupils last year, the highest among the nation’s top 20 largest school districts, and an additional 419 teachers were laid off this summer, according to the Las Vegas Review Journal.
“I’ve got a question for Governor Romney: How many teachers’ jobs are worth another tax cut for millionaires and billionaires?” Obama said, prompting boos from the audience. “How many kids in Head Start are worth a tax cut for somebody like me who doesn’t need it?”
Obama’s campaign simultaneously released a new television ad hitting Romney on teacher reductions and class sizes. The Romney campaign responded that Obama’s own education secretary, Arne Duncan, has questioned whether it is wise to focus on reducing class sizes if it means budget cuts to other education programs.
“President Obama is so desperate to hold on to power that he’ll even attack policies supported by his own education secretary,” Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said in a statement.
In his jobs bill last fall, Obama pushed for new investments to hire more teachers, construction workers, firefighters and police officers. But those proposals were not approved by Congress, prompting the president to lambaste what he called an obstructionist Republican Party. Republicans have argued that Obama has not done enough to tame the federal debt and that his stimulus spending has not done enough to reduce unemployment, which stands at 8.3 percent.
The audience began to boo when Obama said congressional Republicans had blocked his bill, but the president cut in and said: “No, no, no, no, no. Don’t boo. Vote. That’s right. Vote.” The line prompted a huge cheer.
Obama continued and cited Romney’s vice presidential running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.): “The Republicans in Congress, led by Congressman Ryan, joined together to block the bill that would have helped states hire and retain more teachers. And as a result, tens of thousands of teachers are not coming back to school this fall.”
As he has done in the past, Obama grew personal when he recalled his fifth-grade teacher, the late Mabel Hefty, who he credited with paying special attention to him despite his funny name and sense of isolation after having lived overseas.
“She made me feel like I had something to say, and that I had some talent,” Obama said. “A great teacher can change the trajectory of a child’s life.”
A short time later, Obama was interrupted by a heckler who yelled in the rear of the gym, before being quickly escorted out by law enforcement authorities.
As the crowd tried to drown out the protester out by chanting “four more years!” Obama said: “You know, that young man probably needed a good teacher. We all need it.”
Diane Sawyer anchors the ABC's "World News." YouTube's Elections Hub will include reporting from ABC News. (Ida Mae Astute / August 22, 2012)
Political junkies will soon have a new place to get their campaign coverage fix.
YouTube on Wednesday launched an Elections Hub to provide extensive online campaign coverage. The new channel will feature political reporting and analysis from such established sources as ABCNews, Al Jazeera English, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Univision, together with popular online sources Philip DeFranco and BuzzFeed.
In a reflection of the Internet’s growing importance as a source of news for viewers younger than 30, YouTube’s Elections Hub will offer live coverage of the Republican and Democratic national conventions and, for the first time, provide live streaming of the presidential and vice presidential debates.
“We’ve seen there is a huge demand for political news on YouTube,” said Olivia Ma, YouTube’s news and politics manager.
The campaigns of President Barack Obama and his likely Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, have uploaded more than 600 videos to their respective YouTube channels since April 2011, Ma said. Those campaign videos, and others mentioning the two presidential candidates, have collectively attracted almost 2 billion views on YouTube, she said.
With Election Hub, viewers will select the coverage they want to follow from a menu of options. Once they've made a choice, they'll be able to watch live and on-demand campaign coverage -- and participate in discussions.Most Americans still get their campaign news from cable news outlets, which consistently rank ahead of network television newscasts, local TV stations and newspapers as the leading source of information about the candidates and the election, according to a report released earlier this year by Pew Research Center.
Still, the number of people going online to keep abreast of political news has nearly tripled since 2000 -- even though that growth has leveled off in the current election season because of a lack of interest among the younger users who are traditionally the most avid consumers of Internet news, Pew found.
Online social networks play an important role in how digital natives -- the generation that grew up with the Internet and connected devices -- get their news, said Jake Katz, general manager of youth market research firm Ypulse.
Katz said these young news consumers may learn about a developing story through Facebook or Twitter, then independently check other sources, including YouTube videos and blogs, to verify the accuracy of the information.
"Everybody is a bit of a journalist," Katz said. "What that means is that news can come from anywhere."